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St. Helena by Tim Kuhl
Released: Jul 2012
Label: Eleven2eleven Records
This song cycle starts out slowly, with a droning five-minute intro of spacey electric guitar that reveals composer-percussionist Kuhl's drive for subtlety. It's nice but not as distinct as what follows: intriguing arrangements (try the title track) that tread close to the border of alt-pop song form, but retain a jazzy kick. Quiet storm-meets-creative improvisation isn't a fad right now, and so Kuhl's leadership of the electric and acoustic players on his session has the feel of a mission statement: namely, that groove and complexity can be joined with a soft touch. Mission accomplished.
Seth Colter Walls

Tracks